Older People Missing the Point of Sheltered Housing

8 April 2014

Older people are missing the point of sheltered housing! That's the message from Jean Smyth who has lived at Scrabo Fold on Donard Avenue, Newtownards for the past six years. Jean was sharing the benefits of living in sheltered accommodation at the facilities open day last week.

She added, 'People don't really know what it is like to live in Fold sheltered housing. People think this is a nursing home, but I have my own apartment, with my own front door and I come and go as I please. The difference between living here and in my previous home is that I have peace of mind as Darlene, our Scheme Co-ordinator, is here Monday to Friday if I need any help and at the weekend I have help at the end of the phone through Fold's Telecare service. When I lived on my own, the house got a bit much for me, what with the garden and cleaning and decorating, but here I don't have to worry so much as it is much easier to keep clean and someone else takes care of the lovely garden area. It gives me more free time to do the things that I want to do and there are lots of social activities and outings to the Grand Opera House or a trip down to the Mourne Mountains.

Jean continued, 'People think that they are not ready for sheltered housing but they are missing the point, the time to move is when you are fit and able and can take part in everything!

Kathleen Short moved into Scrabo Fold from Durham 2 years ago. She said, 'My son lives in the Ards area and he was worried about me. My health was poorly and I was very isolated where I lived. I couldn't sleep at night for worrying. It was the best thing I ever did moving over to Newtownards. I see my family more and everyone is so friendly, I’ve been made very welcome. In Scrabo I can sleep at night and my social life is great. I am getting out and about doing things and seeing the beautiful country.'

It was Betty's brother who suggested she considered moving into sheltered accommodation following the passing of her husband. Betty said,''It was a difficult time. Everyone I wanted to see during the day was out working all day so it was lonely. Since coming here, I've more company during the day and a better social life. There is always something on, something to do or go see. We have a common room, a shared living room and a quiet room to read or do jigsaws. There is even a guest apartment so if someone is coming to visit they stay nearby.

Since moving into Scrabo Betty has had a knee replacement operation, she said, ''If I had been living on my own, I don't think for a minute my recovery would have gone as smoothly as it did. I have had a lot of help to get back on my feet.''

Mr Jim Shannon MP, called into the open day and commented, “What impresses me most about Scrabo Fold is how happy everyone is. It is great to see so many people visiting here today to see the facilities on offer. I know most of the residents and it is always a joy to call in.

Joanne Hamilton, Housing Officer, said, "Fold sheltered housing offers apartment living for people over 55 who wish to live independently. We offer comfortable, self contained apartments for one or two people, with affordable rent and heating charges. We also organise a wide range of social activities for residents who may take part as an when it suits them.

She added, "Our sheltered housing schemes are conveniently situated close to local amenities such as shops or the post office and there is someone on site during the day. There is also the reassurance of a 24 hour contact service, at the end of the telephone, through Fold Telecare, should you need it." If you would like to find out what Fold's sheltered housing has to offer in the Newtownards, Bangor and Donaghadee areas you can contact Scheme

Co-ordinators if you would like further information:

Darlene Garston, Scrabo Fold, Newtownards ''9182 0976; Shirley Thomson, Shuttlefield Fold, Newtownards “ 9181 1612; Noel Irvine, Tonic Fold, Bangor - 9145 5502; Nichola Legge, Copeland Fold, Donaghadee “ 9188 3722

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